Grassroot Initiatives

Community Inclusion

Canada's Community Inclusion Initiative 2010 PDF

Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disabilities (S.A.I.D.)

On May 13th, 2009 the Government of Saskatchewan announced that a new income support system for people with disabilities will be launched this fall. This announcement means that many people living with disabilities will no longer depend on social assistance for their basic living expenses. For many years, disability advocates have lobbied the provincial government to create an income system separate from welfare (a system that was designed for short-term needs) that adequately met the life-long needs of people with disabilities. The voice of Saskatchewan citizens with disabilities was acknowledged and in May 2009, Minister Harpauer announced that the Government of Saskatchewan would create a separate, dignified program for individuals with disabilities that would provide a socially acceptable level of income. The program which is expected to initially benefit over 3,000 people will roll out October 1st, 2009. Enrollment in the program is expected to reach between 8,000 to 10,000 people once the program is fully running.

The primary focus of the new program, which is separate from the existing Saskatchewan Assistance Program, is:

  • To assure a socially acceptable income for people with disabilities - recognizing the range of additional costs associated with disability; and
  • To encourage and empower people with disabilities to participate as fully as possible in community life.
  • visit

Self Directed Funding Initiative

How are services and supports for adults with intellectual disabilities provided in Saskatchewan right now?

Presently, services and supports for adults with intellectual disabilities are primarily delivered in group or congregated settings such as group homes and workshops. Financial support is given to agencies by the Provincial Government to provide a set number of spaces for services and supports for people with intellectual disabilities. This way of providing supports is called the Block Funding model (BF).

While Self Directed Funding, formally known as Individualized Funding, is not commonly available in Saskatchewan for persons with intellectual disabilities we do know that there are a very small number of SDF projects that are operating successfully in the province. We believe that these projects set a precedent for a move to make SDF true options for everyone.

What is Self Directed Funding?

Self Directed Funding (SDF) is a way some governments provide financial support to people with intellectual disabilities. Under SDF, a person centered plan is developed for the individual. This plan reflects the individual's needs and goals. The person with a disability can, if they wish, receive money directly from the government to purchase the supports and services they choose, instead of using the services that are currently provided for them. Funding can be sent directly to the person, or a parent/support person or team acting on the person’s behalf and that money can be used to buy the services and supports the individual needs. Self Directed Funding has been used successfully in many other parts of Canada for over 25 years.

At this time, there are a very limited number of SDF plans in Saskatchewan. We believe that all people with intellectual disabilities should have the right to choose SDF if they want them.

What are the benefits of Self Directed Funding ?

People who have been able to access SDF say that controlling their own funding helps them to get the kind of supports and services they want. They report that their life is better overall through having choices and control. They can explore supported employment opportunities, daytime activities and housing options that were not available before. Some people have been able to own their own homes, hire staff, and get out in the community more often. They tell us that Self Directed Funding has changed their lives.

People who have access to SDF negotiate directly with their service provider as they need to. They can change which service provider they use if they find their needs are not being met.

Things to think about:

  • Some people who have used SDF say that they don't enjoy doing the paperwork and that it is sometimes difficult to hire people or find the right kind of services. For individuals and families who do not want to manage funds or who want help with other administrative functions, supports can be provided by a third party such as a service provider.
  • Who might be interested in SDF? People who want services that are different than what is currently provided or people who want specialized services or more personalized planning around supports and services.

Why should we support Self Directed Funding?

SDF may not be the right choice for everyone; however, people who have used it say that even when there are problems, SDF is still better because it allows for flexible, personalized supports. SDF need to be available as a choice for all individuals with intellectual disabilities.

What do we need to have in place to make sure Self Directed Funding works well in Saskatchewan?

We need to make SDF available as a real choice for people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

There is a need for clear guidelines that reflect the right of choice and independence. It is critical that the people who will use SDF be involved in the development of the Saskatchewan model and that the resulting model is flexible, based on the needs of the individual and transportable.

What can I do if I am interested in working on an SDF plan for me or my adult son or daughter?

You can call the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living (SACL). We will answer your questions about SDF. If you are interested in developing a plan SACL will support you to do so. SACL will also help you in determining who you should present your plan to for funding and will support you in doing so.

There is a Guide available that gives you information on developing a Self Directed Funding proposal. This is available from SACL.